The President of the Kiama & District Business Chamber, Cameron McDonald, says the social media storm that erupted over the cancellation of a food truck visit to Kiama over the Mother’s Day weekend was a combination of misunderstanding and misinformation.
New COVID-19 rules allow food trucks to operate from private land, without the usual approvals.
Claims of bullying and blackmail to prevent the visit of the Wollongong food truck – leveled at a Chamber member – have reflected on the Chamber itself, which Mr McDonald says is unfair.
“From my understanding there was no threat involved, just a conversation with a business owner and fellow Chamber member who didn’t realise his premises were going to be utilised by the food truck,” says Mr McDonald.
Instead, Samara’s food truck offered a drive-in service for its Lebanese food from outside Stoic Brewery in Gerringong, a place where it has operated before.
Persistent accusations by Samara’s have led to the Chamber writing to them asking them to stop or risk further action.
Mr McDonald says that if such bullying behaviour had taken place, it would not have been acceptable behaviour for a member to have displayed, and there would have been ramifications for bringing the Chamber into disrepute.
“As a member organisation, our position is we would prefer people to go out and support a local business, rather than a business that comes in and wants to take the profits out of the community.
“We are not telling people not to buy from food trucks; we are saying we would prefer people, when they go out, to think about shopping at a local business.
“We strongly encourage people to use local businesses which are paying rent and local employees, as they are experiencing really difficult trading conditions.
“Without visitors to the town, there is so much less to go around as it is.”
On another front, the Chamber has recently appointed Michael Emmett, Director of Blue Stone Building Group, as an interim director following the resignation of Amanda Smith from Purpose People Solutions.
“Michael is a successful young businessman who has expressed interest in standing for a board position at our next AGM,” says Mr McDonald.
“He is just the sort of person we need in the challenging times ahead.”
Disclosure: The Bugle is a member of the Chamber. Samara’s declined to
participate in this story.